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In-state fall enrollment at U-C campuses increases

The campus of the University of California-Berkeley
Flickr / Creative Commons
The campus of the University of California-Berkeley

Not only did UC enroll a record number of Californians and its largest-ever class of California first-year students, but the rate of increase for those students was higher than in recent years, when UC has often seen only modest growth.

EdSource reportsthe freshman class had 42,058 Californians -- or about 2,000 more than the previous fall. In addition to the uptick in first-years, UC enrolled more returning in-state sophomores, juniors and seniors than the previous year.

Overall, UC enrolled 194,571 California resident undergraduates -- or 4,145 more than fall 2022, a jump of more than two percent. That accounted for about 83 percent of UC's total undergraduate enrollment. Enrollment of out-of-state students declined, thanks to a drop in the number of returning international students.

The historic jump in California residents is a turnaround from last year when lawmakers were critical of UC for failing to meet their demands.

Campuses that welcomed an increase in California freshmen last fall are: Santa Cruz, Irvine, Davis, UCLA, San Diego and Santa Barbara. Berkeley and Merced saw only modest increases. When including returning students, the largest increases of California residents happened at the Berkeley, Los Angeles and San Diego campuses. UC officials cited higher retention rates as being among the main drivers of those increases.

Over the last several years, UC has faced pressure from lawmakers and Newsom to prioritize enrollment of California resident undergraduates. In 2022, Newsom implemented a multiyear agreement -- or a "compact" -- with the system. Under the agreement, Newsom pledged annual budget increases of five percent in exchange for increased enrollment of in-state students, among other things.

Sunni M. Khalid is a veteran of more than 40 years in journalism, having worked in print, radio, television, and web journalism.